Steven M Jay, Ph.D.
University of Maryland College Park
College Park, MD, United States
Engineering HER3-targeted ovarian cancer therapy
The presence of the HER3 protein on the surface of ovarian cancer cells is associated with worse survival outcomes; therefore, blocking the pro-cancer activity of the HER3 protein may improve survival. Dr. Jay’s lab has developed a new approach to interfere with the function of HER3 using small proteins arranged in a specific configuration. These small protein molecules effectively reduce the growth of ovarian cancer in animals on their own. However, based on what we know from experience with current treatments and the effectiveness of similar biologic therapies, it’s expected these molecules will be used in the clinic as part of a drug conjugate, when the proteins are physically bound to a chemotherapy drug, or combination therapy approach. In this study, Dr. Jay’s lab plans to test the therapeutic potential of their approach in combination with common chemotherapy drugs used to treat ovarian cancer. In addition, Dr. Jay’s group will gauge the potential of creating drug conjugates with chemotherapy drugs and the small proteins to further enhance therapeutic effectiveness of their approach. This strategy is fundamentally different than other HER3-targeted therapies currently in clinical trials and could lead to a novel candidate for clinical trials.